As anxiety levels rise in our lives so must our precautions. Whether it’s the News which affects us, or the uncertainty around, it is in the knowing that “this too shall pass” which will allow us to clear these times. Our bodies too have been naturally designed to help us release built up stress and fear in the simplest and most natural manner with our breaths.
When we are stressed or afraid, our breathing is rapid and shallow. Our bodies tense up and our blood pressure increases with lesser amounts of oxygen. Some of us feel nauseous or dizzy and unable to stay still.
Conscious breathwork, or calming breath techniques offer immediate relief. Be they in the form of Pranic Breathing, Chi Breath or just simple long deep breaths which help.
Here’s what has helped me and many other over the years when the anxiety levels begin to go up.
Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
Make yourself comfortable.
Focus on your breath. (You will be distracted by thoughts, but keep returning to your breath)
Inhale deeply extending your stomach to a count of 6.
Pause for a count of 3.
Exhale slowly, retracting your stomach to a count of 6.
Within 90 seconds a palpable difference is felt. Blood pressure normalises and a space of inner calm can be felt as your thoughts go quiet and you focus only on your breath and slowly realise this too shall pass.
Last night’s Delhi riots have triggered a lot of people. My 82 year old dad spoke at length today about 16 August 1946 in Calcutta when thousands lost their lives due to communal violence. He was 8 and had been instructed to stay at home and take care of his younger siblings. Curiosity got the better of him and he climbed on the table to look out the window. He witnessed the mob chase down one of his neighbour uncles and hack him to pieces. Not something a child of 8 should see, but the memories were still so clear as dad described the horror. The loss of a neighbour who ruffled his hair and retrieved his cricket ball. An inoccent hardworking man. With a family who waited for him. With a little boy who never forgot him even after 74 years. (Who shared his story with his daughter who could do nothing, but cry and pray for the loss of inoccent lives down the passage of time.)